Associate Salaries, Job Survey

Associate Life Survey: Time For That Raise?

funny-pictures-tollbooth-cat-will-accept-burger-payment.jpgWe received 1,054 responses to Monday’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on when raises happen at your firms.

As expected, the overwhelming majority of you — almost 80% — said that your firms raise salaries in January.

But the rest of you are probably in for a wait. More than half of the associates who aren’t getting raises in February reported that raises will happen later, not earlier, at their firms.

Results: When Does Your Firm Adjust Salaries

Month Percentage
January 79.3%
February 6.5%
March 4.0%
April 1.4%
May Less than 1%
June Less than 1%
July Less than 1%
August Less than 1%
September   1.4%
October 2.2%
November Less than 1%
December 2.9%

Respondents reporting October raises included associates at Kenyon & Kenyon, Curtis Mallet-Prevost, Quarles & Brady, and a few boutiques. February raisers included Foley & Lardner, MoFo, Paul Hastings, Drinker Biddle, Akerman Senterfitt, and WolfBlock. According to attorneys at K&L Gates, Seyfarth Shaw, and Moore & Van Allen, March is the month for step-ups in salary.

Bear in mind, though, that some firms that announce raises in February or March may apply those raises retroactively to January 1. And, in a tough financial climate, we may see more firms delay raise announcements this year or perhaps, as one commenter predicts, announce raises of zero:

Remember you read it here first. At least 10 AmLaw firms will decide in January 2009 that they will not move salaries up to “the next class.” The stagnation in the market will – when combined with the trough in net earnings cause firms to say “we are holding you where you are – which is better than having to RIF 10-15% of you.” This will be the year the air goes out of the tire of associate raises.

Several firms did indeed freeze salaries during the last recession.

But that’s not to say that billing rates won’t go up. In fact, there’s a good chance they already have. Most respondents receiving raises in January said their rates go up during the fall — or even the summer — before:

Results: When Does Your Firm Adjust Billing Rates

Month Percentage
January 48.4%
February Less than 1%
March Less than 1%
May Less than 1%
June Less than 1%
July 5.6%
August 1.7%
September   24.3%
October 14.4%
November 3.6%
December 1.0%

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this Associate Life Survey.

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